Accessing an OST file


J

JohnB

I have a user that is looking for a long lost email that she "hopes" she
saved. Of course, she has many, many PST files. The email is not in any of
those. There are 3 OST files in the default Outlook folder on her computer.
Is there a way to open and search those files?

I've done some research and have read that if the OST is orphaned, then you
need to buy software that will let you convert the OST to a PST. That
doesn't seem to be the case here, it is in her windows folder.

Thanks
 
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B

Brian Tillman [MVP-Outlook]

I have a user that is looking for a long lost email that she "hopes" she
saved. Of course, she has many, many PST files. The email is not in any of
those. There are 3 OST files in the default Outlook folder on her computer.
Is there a way to open and search those files?

I've done some research and have read that if the OST is orphaned, then you
need to buy software that will let you convert the OST to a PST. That
doesn't seem to be the case here, it is in her windows folder.

What do you mean "in her windows folder"? For an OST to be accessible, it
must be connected to the mail profile for which it was created and that
profile must exist in the Show Profiles feature of the Mail applet in Control
Panel.
 
L

Leonid S. Knyshov // SBS Expert

I have a user that is looking for a long lost email that she "hopes" she
saved. Of course, she has many, many PST files. The email is not in any of
those. There are 3 OST files in the default Outlook folder on her computer.
Is there a way to open and search those files?

I've done some research and have read that if the OST is orphaned, then you
need to buy software that will let you convert the OST to a PST. That
doesn't seem to be the case here, it is in her windows folder.

Thanks
Easiest way? Copy all PSTs into one location, open them up, install
Xobni and let it do the work of indexing this mess.

Does she have 3 Outlook profiles?
Her cached Exchange account will be associated with one of them. Does
she have 3 Exchange accounts?

I deal with this scenario quite often when doing data recovery. OST to
PST solutions work well, but not necessary if the OST time stamps are
current and the associated Outlook profiles are still valid.
--
Leonid S. Knyshov
Crashproof Solutions
510-282-1008
Twitter: @wiseleo
http://crashproofsolutions.com
Microsoft Small Business Specialist
Try Exchange Online http://bit.ly/free-exchange-trial
Please vote "helpful" if I helped you :)
 
M

M

Hello:

If those other 3 OSTs were for the same mailbox, you can try this:

1.) Disconnect her computer from the network (including WiFi). You do NOT
want her computer connecting back to the Exchange server.
2.) Close Outlook.
3.) Rename the existing OST by adding "CURRENT" to the end of the name.
4.) Pick one of the other OSTs and rename it to what the current OST name
was.
5.) Open Outlook. The OST should be accessible. Look for the lost e-mails.
If you find them, copy them to a PST.
6.) Repeat 4 - 5 for the other two OSTs.
7.) Undo step 3.
8.) Connect the computer back to the network and open Outlook and work
normally.

Let me know if you were able to access the other OSTs this way, and if you
found the lost e-mails.
 
J

JohnB

This is the folder I'm calling "her windows folder"

C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\Local Settings\Application
Data\Microsoft\Outlook

That's where the 3 OST's are.
 
G

Gordon

JohnB said:
This is the folder I'm calling "her windows folder"

C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\Local Settings\Application
Data\Microsoft\Outlook

That's where the 3 OST's are.

AFAIK (and I'm not an Exchange expert) you can only open an OST file if you
re-create the Exchange Account which created it in the first place, other
than buying conversion software...
 
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J

JohnB

I had never heard of Xobni, but I just looked at their website. What's the
advantage over the Outlook built-in search?

She only has 1 Exchange account. The 3 OST files have 3 different date
stamps. I was told there should be only one in there. So I am guessing
that this happened because offline mode was turned off and back on, and when
that happened, a new OST was created?



"Leonid S. Knyshov // SBS Expert"
 
J

JohnB

I'll have to schedule a time tomorrow morning to get at her computer.

Re: Step5
This is what I don't understand... how do I search or look at the contents
of an OST? You can't do File>Open>Outlook Data File.... or at least, that
didn't work for me.
 
M

M

I thought you knew what an OST was. It's an OFFLINE copy of a mailbox. If
you're disconnected from the network and Outlook is in "offline" mode, it
uses the OST exclusively. In "online" mode, the OST is also used, but
there's interaction with the Exchange server (syncing and updating in the
background).

The steps I gave you is an attempt to "trick" Outlook into opening an older
OST. When you do what I suggested and (if) Outlook is able to access the OST
file, you'll see the contents of the mailbox as it looked when that
particular OST file was last sync'd with Exchange. That's why it's important
that you perform step 1 to totally disconnect her computer from the network
so that the older OST doesn't try to sync with her current mailbox.

Please respond back after you try this and let me know if any of this
worked.
 
L

Leonid S. Knyshov // SBS Expert

I had never heard of Xobni, but I just looked at their website. What's the
advantage over the Outlook built-in search?

She only has 1 Exchange account. The 3 OST files have 3 different date
stamps. I was told there should be only one in there. So I am guessing
that this happened because offline mode was turned off and back on, and when
that happened, a new OST was created?

Xobni is a better indexer. They refused Microsoft's offer to buy them,
by the way.

M's trick will probably work to fool Outlook into opening those OSTs.
I'd make an image of this system before doing anything with it as some
changes can render OSTs unreadable due to loss of Exchange
authentication token.

It's likely that her mail is buried in PSTs and a good indexer would be
most helpful there.
--
Leonid S. Knyshov
Crashproof Solutions
510-282-1008
Twitter: @wiseleo
http://crashproofsolutions.com
Microsoft Small Business Specialist
Try Exchange Online http://bit.ly/free-exchange-trial
Please vote "helpful" if I helped you :)
 
B

Brian Tillman [MVP-Outlook]

This is the folder I'm calling "her windows folder"

C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\Local Settings\Application
Data\Microsoft\Outlook

That's where the 3 OST's are.

Orphan OSTs (OSTs whose mail profiles have been deleted) are not accessible to
Outlook even if you create a new profile pointing to the same Exchange
mailbox. As Gordon says, you must purchase an OST to PST converter. I've
never seen any free ones.
 
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J

JohnB

mailbox. As Gordon says, you must purchase an OST to PST converter. I've
never seen any free ones.

There's OST2PST. But, it does not work with Outlook 2003 and later.
 
J

JohnB

Your method worked just fine.

Unfortunately her email wasn't there.
This was a case of someone saying "I emailed you on that...". And I suspect
they never really did. This manager here doesn't delete *anything* when it
comes to her email.

Oh well....... thanks for the help.
 
B

Brian Tillman [MVP-Outlook]

There's OST2PST. But, it does not work with Outlook 2003 and later.

And hence why I didn't mention it. As far as I'm concerned, if it doesn't
handle Unicode PSTs it may as well not exist.
 
L

Leonid S. Knyshov // SBS Expert

Your method worked just fine.

Unfortunately her email wasn't there.
This was a case of someone saying "I emailed you on that...". And I suspect
they never really did. This manager here doesn't delete *anything* when it
comes to her email.

Oh well....... thanks for the help.

Recommend exporting extraneous OSTs into PSTs so you don't have to go
through this again. :)

M, cool trick. Thanks for sharing it. :)
--
Leonid S. Knyshov
Crashproof Solutions
510-282-1008
Twitter: @wiseleo
http://crashproofsolutions.com
Microsoft Small Business Specialist
Try Exchange Online http://bit.ly/free-exchange-trial
Please vote "helpful" if I helped you :)
 
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L

Leonid S. Knyshov // SBS Expert

Recommend exporting extraneous OSTs into PSTs so you don't have to go
through this again. :)

M, cool trick. Thanks for sharing it. :)
And before others jump on me for answering this incorrectly as exporting
to PST is known to cause loss of data...

I should correct this. By saying "export to PST" I meant login to the
old OST, create a new PST, right-click and drag folders from OST into
PST, then choose Copy. That way you won't have to worry about data in
obsolete OSTs as next time you might not be so lucky.
--
Leonid S. Knyshov
Crashproof Solutions
510-282-1008
Twitter: @wiseleo
http://crashproofsolutions.com
Microsoft Small Business Specialist
Try Exchange Online http://bit.ly/free-exchange-trial
Please vote "helpful" if I helped you :)
 
J

JohnB

Agreed.
Something different needs to be done. Having many gigabytes of PST files is
obviously a poor way to manage information that is as important as it was to
this person. But convincing a manager otherwise is a challenge, since it
cost $$$. But this is the perfect time to make the case for spending $$$
for a archive solution.

Anyone have any experience with Postini email archive, or something similar?
 
J

Jim Chou

As in yr case.
She hope her letter be in the OST. And to access OST files, you have to spend $$ to convert it to PST.
As she is not sure, to spend $$ is not so wise. I recommend Advanced Exchange Recovery @ www.datanumen.com/aexr/

Its Demo version is free and can recover all files in OST, but with context replaced. In this way, she can if her hope is really there, in a free way.

To access the context, buy it...Oppps, I've no other good idea, and as a user of this utility, I think it worths the $$.

Regard,
Jim
I have a user that is looking for a long lost email that she "hopes" she
saved. Of course, she has many, many PST files. The email is not in any of
those. There are 3 OST files in the default Outlook folder on her computer.
Is there a way to open and search those files?

I have done some research and have read that if the OST is orphaned, then you
need to buy software that will let you convert the OST to a PST. That
does not seem to be the case here, it is in her windows folder.

Thanks
On Wednesday, March 17, 2010 3:02 PM Brian Tillman [MVP-Outlook] wrote:
What do you mean "in her windows folder"? For an OST to be accessible, it
must be connected to the mail profile for which it was created and that
profile must exist in the Show Profiles feature of the Mail applet in Control
Panel.
On Friday, March 19, 2010 8:25 AM Brian Tillman [MVP-Outlook] wrote:
Orphan OSTs (OSTs whose mail profiles have been deleted) are not accessible to
Outlook even if you create a new profile pointing to the same Exchange
mailbox. As Gordon says, you must purchase an OST to PST converter. I have
never seen any free ones.
On Friday, March 19, 2010 2:28 PM Brian Tillman [MVP-Outlook] wrote:
And hence why I did not mention it. As far as I am concerned, if it does not
handle Unicode PSTs it may as well not exist.
 
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J

Jenny Lembert

Convert OST to PST file is the only way to access a mail or any other data from the ost file. I recommend you to use Stellar Phenix Convert OST PST tool to convert ost to pst file. This tool supports all the latest versions of windows and Outlook.
Freeversion of teh tool is available that shows 100% preview of all the recoverable items of ost file. you can download evaluation version of tool for free http://www.convert-ost.net/download-convert-ost-to-pst-software.php
I have a user that is looking for a long lost email that she "hopes" she
saved. Of course, she has many, many PST files. The email is not in any of
those. There are 3 OST files in the default Outlook folder on her computer.
Is there a way to open and search those files?

I have done some research and have read that if the OST is orphaned, then you
need to buy software that will let you convert the OST to a PST. That
does not seem to be the case here, it is in her windows folder.

Thanks
On Wednesday, March 17, 2010 3:02 PM Brian Tillman [MVP-Outlook] wrote:
What do you mean "in her windows folder"? For an OST to be accessible, it
must be connected to the mail profile for which it was created and that
profile must exist in the Show Profiles feature of the Mail applet in Control
Panel.
On Friday, March 19, 2010 8:25 AM Brian Tillman [MVP-Outlook] wrote:
Orphan OSTs (OSTs whose mail profiles have been deleted) are not accessible to
Outlook even if you create a new profile pointing to the same Exchange
mailbox. As Gordon says, you must purchase an OST to PST converter. I have
never seen any free ones.
On Friday, March 19, 2010 2:28 PM Brian Tillman [MVP-Outlook] wrote:
And hence why I did not mention it. As far as I am concerned, if it does not
handle Unicode PSTs it may as well not exist.
 

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